Two Roads has, to channel the New England poet Robert Frost who inspired the brewery’s name, quite literally “diverged in a wood.”
That is, Connecticut’s largest brewery yesterday began the build out of a $12 million production facility designed specifically to support its growing wood barrel-aged and sour ambitions.
Settled adjacent to its current brewery in Stratford, the new brewery, dubbed Area Two Experimental Brewing, will top 25,000 square feet, be fit to house 1,200 wooden barrels, and come equipped with a 50-barrel brewhouse, foeders, a coolship, and a tasting room with a capacity for 120 people.
“Our new facility will be a place where people can enjoy an array of complex, barrel-aged beers that in some cases are soured and aged for up to 30 months,” adds Two Roads CEO Brad Hittle in a press statement. “This addition to our 9.6 acre brewing campus will create new jobs while bringing in thousands of people to Connecticut to enjoy an extensive line-up of beers from both of our breweries.”
Additionally, Hittle says “the project includes a significant investment in the rehabilitation of almost 1.5 acres of wetlands.” Most critically from a production angle though, the facility will also serve as a way to prevent its growing roster of more volatile beers from contaminating both its own clean lineup, as well as clean beers brewed by its myriad contract partners that rely on Two Roads for production capacity.
“Because we cannot take the risk of bringing all these funky yeasts into our main brewery, we haven’t been able to produce these types of beers in appreciable quantity,” adds brewmaster Phil Markowski, who literally wrote the book on “farmhouse ales” in the U.S. “Area Two will provide us with that ability.”
While this move could hardly be described as taking the road “less traveled by” – quite a few prominent breweries have opened secondary facilities dedicated to keeping clean and funky beer production apart at this point – it does provide Two Roads with new opportunities for growth. As reported by the CT Post, by expanding its barrel program, the company will also begin distributing to new areas that it hasn’t reached before, primarily “because the barrel-aged beers travel well.”
To that end, drinkers can look forward to new Brett-based and barrel-aged beers, as well as wider availability of pre-existing products including Urban Funk, a wild ale, and Workers Stomp, a barrel-aged saison.
The company says it expects Area Two to be open in autumn of next year.